While the hurricanes of war raged across both oceans, the stateside industrial and human efforts that made World War II possible stormed into Miami with seemingly as much gusto. The city's grandest resort hotels became war hospitals (some of which never checked out, eventually dooming buildings by the greatest hotel architects of the day to the necessities of public health), the less grand beach hotels officers quarters, and practically every other hotel room stretching from South Beach to the Firestone Estate became basic training barracks for freshly drafted green-eared privates in fatigues or their wives. (in separate hotels, of course)
Soldiers marched on the beach, they marched on the golf courses, they marched down Lincoln Road and up Collins Avenue. Gas masks were used to peel onions. Airports stocked up on bomber jets. A mess hall could be anywhere from a grand art deco ballroom to a palm tree shaded park. Miami Beach was the center of basic training ops for hundreds of thousands of our brave boys, and we pulled it off in style.
For more on what they did over here before going 'over there' the Wolfsonian Museum's exhibit on Miami ephemera from World War II is still running for two more weeks.Check it out.
· At Ease: Miami Beach During World War II [Wolfsonian FIU]
· For Memorial Day, Nine Miami Places That Played a Role in Defending the Nation [Curbed Miami]